Tourism development boom highlighted


Citing seven new multimillion-dollar hotel and tourism projects in the works, Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell told legislators “investor confidence” is returning to the Cayman Islands. 

Mr. Kirkconnell, in his budget address, indicated that developers, buoyed by record arrival figures, will pump significant money into new hotels over the next decade.  

Mr. Kirkconnell highlighted a coming construction boom in the tourism industry, which he said would help address a shortage of beds. 

He outlined a list of pending projects at various stages in the development process, including: 

The US$70 million transformation of Treasure Island Resort, expected to begin early next year 

The redevelopment of the Old Hyatt hotel, currently going through the planning process 

Dart’s Kimpton hotel on Seven Mile Beach, which is under construction 

A second Dart hotel, also planned for Seven Mile Beach as part of the Camana Bay expansion, scheduled to begin construction in 2018 

The Health City hotel, slated for construction to begin this year 

A proposed hotel for Beach Bay in Bodden Town, currently in the discussion phase. 

The proposed Ironwood golf resort in the eastern districts, still in the discussion phase. 

The minister also highlighted the rebranding of the Reef Resort as a Wyndham property, bringing a new global brand to the islands. 

“Investments on this scale are encouraging news and should be construed as a realistic indication of the level of confidence investors have in our jurisdiction,” he said. 

Outside of the Kimpton, the Treasure Island reconstruction, the Health City hotel and the old Hyatt development were highlighted as the most imminent of the planned developments. 

The minister again cautioned that the rise in tourist arrivals would start to plateau over the next two years, until new hotels and condos could be built. He forecast growth of 3 percent to 4 percent in 2015. 

“While this is not the double-digit increase we have aimed for and achieved in previous years, it is still a respectable target, and there is a very good reason for it. We have reached the saturation point and are experiencing the first signs of limitations in capacity,” he added. 

He said new properties would significantly contribute to adding to the 5,200 rooms currently available across the islands. 

“They will also add a healthy mix of three-, four- and five-star brands to attract a wider cross-section of visitors. But it will take two years for these to start coming on stream and before we begin to see any significant measurable benefits.” 

In the interim, the minister said focus is on improving marketing in secondary destinations, opening up access from the West Coast of the U.S. and improving slow season numbers through weddings and sports events. 


Mr. Kirkconnell

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now


  1. This is sad to hear very sad to hear. The Ironwood Golf resort is been brought back to the discussion table. I thought in their last briefing they had chose Arch and Godfrey to start their "Town Centre." That they also were taking the tires in the landfill for their development? What happened? So is the road not going through?
    It seems that only western Gramd Cayman is seeing tourism related projects. What about the cruise ship piers? Any word on when that will finally finish their EIA? What about the Airport?

  2. Stayover tourism is where the real money is – not cruise boat people clogging up the streets of George Town in their bikinis, who spend $20 on a Stingray City tour.

    Thus, in my opinion, public money should be spent on improving access to our islands, that is the airports.

    This is the first and last impression tourists get.

    I avoid flying to Miami because I hate waiting in line for an hour at immigration there. We don’t want our valued tourists deciding the same thing about Grand Cayman.

  3. Not a word on improvements to traffic, pedestrian safety in the Seven Mile Beach area. Bring more tourists, but care less if they die or get injured simply trying to cross West Bay Road. As if the latest victim, a 17-year-old who ended up with a metal plate in his head doesn’t exist.


    Trip Advisor, May 21, SMB trip report."I will say, for 99% of the folks who visit, the most dangerous part would be crossing the main drag on SMB. There are no crosswalks and most drivers will slow down or stop if they see you crossing, but you need to be careful, particularly at night."
    2. Re: Solo female trip report
    May 18, 2015, 9:43 PM
    If I could do it again, I would’ve rented a car for maybe a day or two just to see more of the island (did not visit Rum Point), make a trip to the grocery store and also to avoid having to crossing West Bay Road! I didn’t figure out the crosswalks til the second day, and overall it felt a little scary out there. The sidewalk is narrow and the cars are just whizzing by. Everything I needed was within walking distance of my resort, however I wouldn’t call Seven Mile Beach pedestrian friendly. I got used to it after day 2, but it’s not exactly pleasant.

  4. How tourism officials can celebrate #1 designation and be blind and deaf to the basic needs of tourists?
    Pedestrians cannot at all or just barely cross West Bay Road without having to fear for their life or running across. Welcome to Grand Cayman!
    Who is responsible for the lack of pedestrian safety? Why is it that we cannot have some adequate traffic enforcement and traffic calming to ensure people do not die on the streets of the "world-class" travel destination?
    Is a pedestrian an inconvenience that needs to be begrudgingly dealt with, and removed as soon as possible? Pedestrians truly feel like they should not be here. Because that is how crossing West Bay Road makes them feel. It tells them, you’re not worth it. Go away. You’re stopping traffic.
    Crossing WBR is a death defying stunt for able-bodied pedestrians. Why does it have to be this way?

  5. Thousands of tourists cross West Bay Road every week. How many have actually been hit by a car? In the last year one 17-year-old boy plus two people who were hit by an out of control car while on the sidewalk.
    Was that young man paying attention?
    Yes there should be a lower speed limit along that stretch of road and it should be enforced.
    But it is a straight road and with all respect you have to be pretty careless to be hit.